Active Ingredient: Glyphosate


Glyphosate kills plants by interfering with the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan. It does this by inhibiting the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), which catalyzes the reaction of shikimate-3-phosphate (S3P) and phosphoenolpyruvate to form 5-enolpyruvyl-shikimate-3-phosphate (ESP) (from Wikipedia).

Glyphosate, commonly known as Round Up, was patented by Monsanto in the 1970’s.  As stated above, the herbicide basically deprives a plant of nutrients, indirectly killing it.  In 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 180 and 185 million pounds were used in the United States agriculture market and between 5 and 8 million pounds in the home and garden market.  These large amounts of pesticides make our food better and lawns more beautiful.

In his article “Nature can’t recover from Round-Up,” Luke Pryjma argues that the weedy invasive species that Round Up is marketed to kill are actually beneficial to the detoxification of the environment.  At first glance we are asked whether we want a clean, but weedy nature or a toxic, but diverse one.  Can we reverse our effects on nature, or should we play with the hand we dealt ourselves?  What if our own weedy human species could actually start benefiting nature?

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company markets and distributes Round Up for Monsanto.  Their slogan reads, “…dedicated to a more beautiful world.”  It sure is a subjective word.

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